July 23 2010
Creating Tensions in Colonial Society
After the different European nations colonized the Americas, societies began to sprout in those colonies. They were very similar to those societies that had been going on for centuries in Europe. There were governments, workers, schools, and hospitals. Issues began to come about in these societies due to revolts and rebellions by the people. They were unhappy with the way they were treated and their life style that they were forced to live by their mother countries. This caused tensions within the societies. The greatest cause of these tensions was the Stono Rebellion, followed by the Bacon’s Rebellion and the witchcraft trials in Salem, and finally, the Pueblo Revolt.
The action that led to the greatest tension in colonial society was the Stono Rebellion. It took place on September 9th, 1739 in the state of South Carolina. At this time, slavery was still going on in the United States, especially in the south. All of the slaves at this time were black, shipped in from Africa as part of the triangular trade. The rebellion, which started by the Stono River, was started by a band of twenty slaves, led by a slave named Jemmy, who were seeking their liberty. They broke into a store and stole weapons and began their march onto the Edisto River. On their march, they called all bystanders and forced all other slaves to join them even if they did not want any part of the rebellion. At the river, they were met by the white colonists of South Carolina. They shot majority of the slaves, and sold the ones that survived to the West Indies or other states, or executed them. There are many different theories for why the slaves rebelled and why they did it at that certain time. One theory states that malaria disease was going around in the capital city of South Carolina, Charlestown. This may have caused confusion amongst the slaves and the other inhabitants of the state. It is also said that Spain offered freedom to any slaves who reached Spanish territory in the Americas which would encourage slaves to run away. Another possible reason for the timing of the rebellion was that a month earlier, the Security Act was passed in South Carolina. This made it mandatory for all of the white citizens of South Carolina to carry weapons with them when they go to church on Sunday. This was just for their security, but the rebel leaders realized that during church services was the best time to rebel because all of the armed white citizens were away from their land. The results of the Stono Rebellion were enormous. The state wanted to make sure that nothing like this would happen again so they gave the slaves a few more rights. Owners of the slaves would be punished for excessive punishments and causing the slaves to encounter excessive labor. The state also created schools for the slaves so that they could learn about the Christian ways. South Carolina also limited the number of slaves that came in because there were so many more slaves than white citizens. They also became more restrictive on the slaves through the Negro Act of 1740. This banned the slaves from meeting in groups, growing their own food, and learning to read. This rebellion gave slaves a couple more rights, but took away many more. This rebellion clearly caused much turmoil and tension between the slaves and the whites. It was the greatest slave rebellion in colonial history. They two sides could not get along and could not see each other as equals. This created constant fighting and tension between colonial citizens.
Another event that caused tensions in colonial society was Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676. This was the first act of serious opposition to authority in America, occurring in Jamestown, Virginia. The two sides in the battle were the governor of Virginia, Sir William Berkeley and Nathaniel Bacon. Bacon was a troublemaker and schemer and was sent to Virginia by his father to mature. He...
Cited: “Bacon’s Rebellion.” Global Security. N.p., 2010. Web. 18 July 2010. <http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/bacon.htm>.
Ponce, Pedro. “Trouble for the Spanish The Pueblo Revolt of 1680.” NEH. N.p., Nov.-Dec. 2002. Web. 19 July 2010. <http://www.neh.gov/news/humanities/2002-11/pueblorevolt.html>.
“Salem Witch Trials.” Articlesbase. N.p., 27 Oct. 2006. Web. 18 July 2010. <http://www.articlesbase.com/law-articles/salem-witch-trials-67616.html>.
“The Stono Rebellion.” About.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 July 2010. <http://afroamhistory.about.com/od/slavery/a/stono.htm>.
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